Goodbye Boulevard Tree

by Josh on May 20, 2009 · 9 comments

in Journal

One of the trees in the boulevard alongside the house was highly stressed by the dry weather last summer and the harsh winter that followed. It has not leafed out much this spring and now it won’t get the chance.

RIP Tree

Yesterday a Minneapolis Park Board truck pulled up and marked the tree. The inspector left a card in my door (some guys from indicating that the tree would be removed. First thing this morning a crew showed up with chainsaws and a chipper to take the tree down.

Before the urban lumberjacks set to work, I snapped a final a photo of the tree. To my amazement, it took only three minutes from when the tree hit the ground to convert the whole thing to mulch. Thanks to Dutch Elm Disease, the city has gotten very good at removing sick trees in a hurry.

The video clip below shows what my 5-year-old and I saw as we watched the parks crew from the dining room window:

The shade and privacy lost with this tree will be significant. Of the three trees in the boulevard, this one provided the most shade benefit, protecting the side of the house. Now I will have to start over with a new sapling. I’m sure it will take more than a day to get a replacement tree– and many many days more before the replacement grows as big as the tree I lost today.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Reuben May 20, 2009 at 9:16 am

Are you going to plant your own sapling? It’s been my observation in the Powderhorn Neighborhood that boulevard trees that get removed aren’t replaced with any sort of regularity. I know the Park Board says they have some sort of system to replace the trees they cut down, but it definitely doesn’t seem as simple as “remove a tree=replace a tree”. I see stumps all over my neighborhood that have been there longer than I’ve been in the neighborhood (~3 years)


Josh May 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

I see a lot of old stumps around the neighborhood, too, Reuben. The Park Board’s Forestry Section told me that due to a backlog, stump grinding could take up to a few years depending on the neighborhoods in which the grinding crews are working.

I also put my property on the tree replacement list and it sounds like that would likely happen next spring. If I don’t want to wait a year, I can request a free planting permit from the Park Board. I need every year I can get to grow replacement shade, so I am leaning toward buying and planting my own tree right away. As a friend just told me, “It takes 100 years to grow a 100-year-old tree.”

Reply May 20, 2009 at 10:59 am

I had three big trees removed last year. They did provide shade. The front pine tree did a good job shading our house in the afternoon, now its about 3 degrees hotter inside when I get home from work (we have no air). Its manageable, and I hope by the time I get around to fully insulating the walls and attic it will be even cooler than what it was with the tree.

My wife misses the two big avocado trees in the back yard, but we needed to get rid of them so we can have more room for a house addition and also my garden.


Will May 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

It took them about a year to replace the elm they took off 45th Street. I was concerned they would replace it with a Hackberry (my LEAST fav. tree ever) so I called the city. Lo and behold, they offered an option sort of. I gave them a top 3, and a NO HACKBERRY. So a week ago I was AMAZED to find 2 new Red Maples where the Elm had been plus a dvd on how to care for my new trees and what to expect from the city in the upcoming years. It’s worth putting a call in asap. I was talking with someone before the branches hit the ground 🙂

Hope it works out!



Josh May 20, 2009 at 12:40 pm

@1916home: My tree was just getting big enough to start adding some shade to the house, so I don’t think there will be much heat gain to contend with.

@Will: That’s very helpful advice about working the system for tree replacement. Thanks!


Stacy May 21, 2009 at 10:10 pm

ahhh sad. how do you get on the boulevard tree request list? Mine disappeared a couple years ago. Also lost a ginormous pine because the trunk was growing into my roof. Would like shade to enjoy should I ever get to retire.


Josh May 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Stacy, you can just call the park board and ask for the forestry division. Then ask to have your address put on the boulevard tree request list. You have until October to get on the list for Spring 2010 planting.


ryan May 31, 2009 at 9:38 pm

replant! replant! replant!


Josh June 18, 2009 at 1:27 am

I’ll get right on that, Ryan. 😉


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